Birkenhead Park could have a bandstand again under new plans put forward by a supporters’ group.
The Friends of Birkenhead Park are considering applying for funding to reinstate the feature in the country’s first publicly funded park, more than 60 years after the last Birkenhead Park bandstand was dismantled.
The park’s first bandstand, made of cast iron, was formally opened in the Lower Park on June 10, 1885 with a concert by the band of the 1st Cheshire Engineers Volunteers.
It was replaced in 1929 by a more ambitious bandstand which was demolished after the Second World War.
The bandstand reflected the park’s historic links with Central Park in New York.
Designer, Frederick Law Olmstead, who had been inspired by his two visits to Birkenhead Park in 1850 and 1852, was one of the first to emphasise the benefits of “good music” in a public park – which he saw allowed citizens to escape the “irritating effect” of urban life.
Sally Dobbing, community projects manager, said: “The organisation of the concerts in the park was entrusted to a group of women, who played a key role in shaping the programmes and securing better facilities, including the provision of seats.
“There is clear evidence that the opportunity of listening to “good music” was deeply appreciated by the ‘working people’ of Birkenhead.
“By the late-1920s, however, the original bandstand was no longer deemed to be satisfactory and it was replaced in 1929 by a more modern structure that had been designed ‘scientifically’ to reflect the music to the audience without the loss of the ‘quieter and more delicate passages’.
“This proved to be immensely popular, but the bandstand was severely damaged during the Blitz of 1940-41 and although concerts continued to be played in the park in the post-war period, it was no longer adequately maintained and was subsequently demolished.”
In the early 1960s, concerts were still held in the Upper Park on Sunday afternoons, but these were discontinued because of the cost.
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